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Subject: Geek of the Week 676 - Rustan Håkansson (RustanR) rss

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Andrea Nand
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Do you know: "Time flies when you're having fun" (it's a common quote also in Italian), therefore after this great week I have the honor to introduce to all of you as the new GotW a long time user of BGG, a gamer, and a designer (and a nanDECK user too ), welcome to...

Rustan Håkansson
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RustanR wrote:
I live in Norrköping, Sweden. By Swedish standards it is a large city, the 10:th largest in the country. By international standards it is a tiny village with slightly less than 100k inhabitants.

I try to live true to my microbadges, raising my 2 sons as gamers and to play games with my wife. Right now I feel I am succeeding with these goals fairly well. My 4yo plays Carcassonne and Tsuro, my 8yo is co-designer of Dungeon Rush and my wife co-designer of Nations.

I have been part of the gaming industry on and off for many years. During university I was very involved in swedish gaming conventions, especially the yearly LinCon with 1000 attendees. One of the many things I did was to handle stores that came to the convention. Another that I ran miniatures games tournaments and demoed the games I loved (especially Confrontation by Rackham). While finishing my degree I started working at a new gaming distributor, and when things started to roll there I never got to finish my degree...

I have since started 3 companies aiming to do various things with board games, worked at BGG as project manager for the company, worked in IT in various ways (especially consultancy companies, in 2011 I was COO for the fastest growing company in Sweden, a very intense period).

Since summer 2017 I work full-time as freelance board game designer. With the long delays in the industry the games I started working on since then are going to start to appear in print soon Some others, like what we are working on for Nations, will soon be possible to help playtest but will not be ready for release even during 2019.

I try very hard to make every game I do as best as it can be, and to be different and unique despite the overwhelming amount of games coming out. Each game is so much work that is not "fun" to do, like proofing and lots of testing, that a game that is just "good" is not good enough.

My next release is actually a chance for me to rework a design for a different audience, as Tribes will be released at Spiel from Kosmos. The first edition was Kickstarted by a small publisher I co-founded but then left, Tea Time Productions.

Poll
Which of these three is a lie?
I have every Confrontation miniature that Rackham released (normal-sized, not all busts etc)
I have a custom Nations board with "Difficulty 0: Rustan" made by the publisher
When printing prototypes spring 2018 my printer started to burn, with actual fire and smoke
      93 answers
Poll created by n_and
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Rustan Håkansson
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EDIT: Now that the week is over, the poll above shows 35%, 42% and 23%. This means only 35% guessed correctly! I have many Confrontation miniatures, over 250 of them, but over 1000 different were produced. I am no completionist and only bought the ones I liked the best.

Thanks for the great week everyone! Now introducing: Geek of the Week #677 - Jack Francisco (senorcoo)

-----------

Thanks Andrea! I'll start with something I forgot in the intro above, an explanation of why my username is the way it is...

This is the account I registered first, way back in 2002:
Rustan Rosén
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Then I lost the password, and created a new with my first name + the first letter of my last name. Then I got married and took the last name of my wife, making the username kind of strange. But by that time I had done so much with my new username that I decided to keep it.
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Midnight Reaper
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Congratulations on making Geek of the Week!

I have a few questions for you......
1 What is your opinion of war gaming?
2 Do you have a favorite war game; if so, what is it?
3 What are your opinions or memories of playing Risk?
4 What are your opinions or memories of playing Axis & Allies?
5 What game (that wasn't designed by you) would you tell all gamers about that just has no publicity and that nobody knows about?
6 What game reminds you most of Sweden in the summer?

I thank you for your time. thumbsup cool

-M_R
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Rustan Håkansson
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midnight_reaper wrote:
Congratulations on making Geek of the Week!

I have a few questions for you......
1 What is your opinion of war gaming?
2 Do you have a favorite war game; if so, what is it?
3 What are your opinions or memories of playing Risk?
4 What are your opinions or memories of playing Axis & Allies?
5 What game (that wasn't designed by you) would you tell all gamers about that just has no publicity and that nobody knows about?
6 What game reminds you most of Sweden in the summer?

I thank you for your time. thumbsup cool

-M_R

Thanks!

1 Wargames is the major field of gaming I have the least experience with. During my university years (15 years ago) we rented a room specifically for wargames in the association I was part of ( Dragon's Den, Linköping, Sweden ). Each group that played had their own massive wooden board with their game, and when finished they put it up on the wall so that the next group could bring their board down.

I think the longest running group played World In Flames, they played every Sunday. When a game finished there was always a full group of new players for the next game. Another game that was played was Napoleon in Europe.

I was not attracted to these monster games, it was a too big commitment. I bought one "lighter" wargame ( Aegean Strike ) that was a total mess to try to learn on my own, never managed to play it.

2 Going through the Wargame category I find both Star Wars Rebellion and War of the Ring classified as war games, both are games that I love and have played a ton. Cry Havoc and miniatures games are there too, but I do not think that's your question. I have not played many traditional war games at all, and none come to mind as being a favorite.

3 I played Risk very much as a kid with my brothers. We made custom risk games, the most memorable was the garden version where the carrots made war against the lettuce.

4 I never played Axis&Allies as a kid, first time I played it I had already played lots of Euros. I was not especially impressed, it felt too scripted and too random.

5 I really like Mondo, but never get to play it, it is a game I would want more people to like. I was working on a prototype very much like it (one of my earliest prototypes) when I tried it as a prototype. I was happy as it was exactly the game I wanted to have, but further developed. I spoke to Michael about it, and he has had it happen to him many many times. I have had it happen sort of later, close enough that I abort development, but never again so close to what I had.

ConHex is a fantastic game, I have the really nice wooden version. It is purely abstract though, and with my background in playing chess at a fairly high level plus having played this a lot I almost never get someone to play it. It was many years since I last played it, but it is sitting on my shelf and I will never get rid of it.


6 Kubb, an outdoors game of throwing large pieces of wood and trying to hit the large pieces of wood that the other team has. When stuff is knocked down your team takes them over, and when you have knocked all down of the other team you go for the king in the middle. A large portion of Swedish summer houses has it, it is very flexible in number of players, you can adjust difficulty (number of pieces, throwing with off hands etc). Not especially good as a game, it is more an activity, but for me it is firmly connected to Swedish summers.
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Nicola Gambetti
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Congratulations, Rustan, enjoy your week!
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Congratulations, Rustan! I'm looking forward to seeing what's coming next for Nations.
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Paul Evans
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Congratulations, Rustan.
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Congratulations Rustan!
Hope you have a wizard of a week!
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Congrats Rustan. Well deserved. Enjoy your week.
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Congratulations Rustan!
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Geoffrey Burrell
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Congrats Rustan! Have a fun and fruitful week of gaming!
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mb Other than Mondo, what game do you love, but which other gamers normally won't play with you?

mb Have you ever had a dream about board games?

mb You get to ask any the universe any question about the human brain and receive a correct answer. What do you want to know?

mb What is one little corner of BGG you use that few people seem to know about?

mb What feature do you wish BGG had?

mb You are stuck in bed with a leg injury, propped up on pillows with a nice, big tray table in front of you. What game would you like brought in to fill that tray table and ease your troubles?

mb If you could pick one invention and cause every instance of it all over the world to vanish into thin air plus make humanity to forget how to build it, what would it be?

mb If you could pick one invention and cause it to be duplicated in every household around the world, what would it be?

mb What is the best book you've read in the past year?
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Congratulations!

No questions here. Just one compliment.

Nations: The Dice Game is fantastic. Thank you for an excellent game.

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Rustan Håkansson
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kataclysm wrote:
mb Other than Mondo, what game do you love, but which other gamers normally won't play with you?

mb Have you ever had a dream about board games?

mb You get to ask any the universe any question about the human brain and receive a correct answer. What do you want to know?

mb What is one little corner of BGG you use that few people seem to know about?

mb What feature do you wish BGG had?

mb You are stuck in bed with a leg injury, propped up on pillows with a nice, big tray table in front of you. What game would you like brought in to fill that tray table and ease your troubles?

mb If you could pick one invention and cause every instance of it all over the world to vanish into thin air plus make humanity to forget how to build it, what would it be?

mb If you could pick one invention and cause it to be duplicated in every household around the world, what would it be?

mb What is the best book you've read in the past year?


mb Cry Havoc, Aronda (also by Clemens Gerhards, same as Con Hex), Cockroach Poker, Imhotep. What I am most concerned about is that people want to play my prototypes. Working as a designer full-time it is of critical importance for me that players do not grow tired of testing my prototypes. So I take a lot of care to try to make all my prototypes that are tested by others be at least interesting. I solo-test a lot and weed out the worst early. Sometimes, like last week, I have a prototype that depends on having many players and is not possible to solo-test well. The test was a bit strange, did not work very well, but the players wanted to finish it anyway when I suggested aborting. I took the part that worked and twisted it around completely into another game, which now works very well and will be shown to a publisher at Spiel.

mb Oh yes, mostly design-related, I wake up and have to write things down. Next day I look it through, and it is sometimes useful, sometimes gibberish. Unless I wake up in the middle of them, I do not remember much from my dreams, and it seems that I am most afraid to forget something useful for designing.

mb How to unlock maximum capacity?

mb GeekMod is unknown for many, especially how images are approved seems like a mystery.

mb Possibility to filter out promos and expansions (to separate lists) from publisher and designer listings.

mb Magic Realm, which I have never played.

mb Guns.

mb Washing Machine. It saves so much work that is better used for other activities.

mb Sapiens and Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. If I have to pick one of them it will be Sapiens. It made me think differently about what it means to be a human.
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Rustan Håkansson
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As a follow-up to the answer about making prototypes people want to test: I try to work on very different types of games, both for my own benefit to not go crazy and for having prototypes I can bring to different groups. I try to be open, take inspiration from many sources, set constraints of various forms, and not just do one type of game.

A couple of weeks ago I tried several ways to get an idea into a prototype, and over 2 hours of frantic solo testing and making new prototypes it completely transformed into a direction I had not forseen at all. It has never happened so fast and so strongly to me before. After tons of more development and testing it is now a very solid prototype that takes a popular but quite uncommon mechanic that I absolutely did not plan to use for that prototype into a new direction, and I have high hopes many players will find it fun to play.

Having a wide reference library in my head is very important. There is no way I can play as many new games that come out as non-designer gamers, but I have to read up and understand the most interesting new games that are released. Many games you need to experience to understand what is interesting about them, those are the ones I try to focus on getting to play. For example Root, a typical game that I needed to play regardless of how much I thought I would enjoy it. I have commented a bit here on aspects I found important: SUSD Root review
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Congrats Rustan and enjoy your week!
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Congratulations Rustan,
have a great week!
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Congratulations Rustan! thumbsup

I love Nations so thank you and your wife for designing it!

Have a wonderful week!
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Enjoy your week, Rustan!

Your Neuroshima Hex! Dancer seems generally considered one of the strangest Neuroshima armies. What inspired it? Any interesting stories about its development? Do you anticipate making any other Neuroshima armies? (Or Monolith Arena, for that matter!)

Have fun!
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Rustan Håkansson
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russ wrote:
Enjoy your week, Rustan!

Your Neuroshima Hex! Dancer seems generally considered one of the strangest Neuroshima armies. What inspired it? Any interesting stories about its development? Do you anticipate making any other Neuroshima armies? (Or Monolith Arena, for that matter!)

Have fun!

Thanks!

I made many strange armies for nshex, I think Dancer is far from the strangest I explored the game-space in all directions, twisting and breaking the mechanics in various ways. Some worked well, some less so. When Ignacy asked me which of the armies I had made that I wanted to see published I picked Dancer as a compromise, an army that was interesting but not too strange, and that worked well as it was. I also suggested to do Bunnies as a limited easter promo but it was too far removed theme-wise I really like Bunnies, it was many years since I played it last, need to get it to the table...

I was not involved in the further development, Portal took the files I had posted to BGG and transformed them into the what was published.

Some armies that did not work as well I never posted to BGG, and that they did not work frustrated me. They became one of my grail games that I have never posted about publicly before this, that I have worked on, with large gaps, for 8 years or so. I have about 80 very different fantasy armies for it (using very few components each, about 1/3 of nshex armies), and several different major game versions, but am still not happy with how it works. Just last week my oldest son asked to play it again as it was a while since last time (he calls it the diamonds game...). So I guess it is time to finish it soon Part of the reason I have not finished it is that I do not know who would be able to publish it, any suggestions are welcome.

I will certainly check out Monolith Arena, I have not looked at it in detail yet though.
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Rustan Håkansson
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Thank you all for your congratulations! I have without thinking about it responded in the way I usually do, by thumbing posts as thanks, like I do to confirm rules questions answered correctly by others etc. Maybe that was not clear in this forum, so I am writing this.

Just so you know, hearing from players who like what I do is a huge part of what keeps me going as a designer. I am always very happy to get a private note about anything regarding my games. Many parts of design work is pure "work", a slog that needs to be done to make the game great. For the last couple of weeks I have been spending a big part of my time proofing a big new game for print (no information released about it yet, sorry), working with the editor to make sure the rules are absolutely solid, going over the examples again and again and it is very slow work. But it needs to be done, without it all the work that has gone into it, all the "fun" parts of dreaming it up, will be useless. When the proofreading comes to an end and I step back I feel the magic though, like now when the whole concept has taken form and is breaking new ground, it feels great!
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RustanR wrote:
I made many strange armies for nshex, I think Dancer is far from the strangest
Oh, cool! I guess I should have said it's one of the strangest of the published armies.

(We own and play all the published ones, but I never paid close attention to the various unpublished fan armies. So many armies, so little time...)

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Some armies that did not work as well I never posted to BGG, and that they did not work frustrated me. They became one of my grail games that I have never posted about publicly before this, that I have worked on, with large gaps, for 8 years or so. I have about 80 very different fantasy armies for it (using very few components each, about 1/3 of nshex armies), and several different major game versions, but am still not happy with how it works. Just last week my oldest son asked to play it again as it was a while since last time (he calls it the diamonds game...). So I guess it is time to finish it soon Part of the reason I have not finished it is that I do not know who would be able to publish it, any suggestions are welcome.
You mean your tinkering with other NH army ideas evolved into an independent non-NH game of its own, with 80 different armies? If so, wow! That is lot of possible pair-ups!

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I will certainly check out Monolith Arena, I have not looked at it in detail yet though.
Same here; it sounds in some sense like a new set of NH armies which have an additional ability, but I'm not sure. I thought I read/heard that you can even play NH armies vs MA armies, but I am not certain whether I remember that correctly.
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Rustan Håkansson
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russ wrote:

You mean your tinkering with other NH army ideas evolved into an independent non-NH game of its own, with 80 different armies? If so, wow! That is lot of possible pair-ups!

Exactly. There are a lot of fun things in it. OK, really need to get started on this one again.
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Congratulations, Rustan, and thanks for all your efforts to get us game designers to be a bit more organized. It was great to meet you in June. Hope to repeat that next year.
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